O2 Xda Atom Phone Tech Review

The Xda Atom comes to us from the creative labs at O2. This PDA type phone has Windows Mobile 5.1 powering it. This phone follows the quite successful O2 Xda II mini line of phones. The Atom has a black plastic case that is nice and shiny however, it does leave your fingerprints behind. I would say that this is quite annoying but hopefully you will get use to it after awhile. The Xda Atom has many features and some of these we will cover here.

The Atom’s frame is 102mm x 58mm x 18mm making it slightly shorter than the Xda mini design. This shorter design unfortunately did have some cutbacks including using the 2.5mm audio jack, which is not compatible with standard earphones. The other drawback is the miniSD expansion slot that is incompatible with the existing SD memory cards. The 262K-color, 2.7inch QVGA screen is still very crisp and bright. It is great that they did not make the screen smaller and harder to read.

The Atom does support Windows Mobile 5.0, which has soft keys. It does not come with dedicated soft keys so you will need to reconfigure two keys to serve as your left and right buttons. This may get old quickly and perhaps the next version of this PDA phone will fix this problem.

It is hard to find a phone without a camera these days. O2 located the camera on the backside along with a mirror so you can take a picture while you are your friends are in it. The camera is 2-megapixel and comes with a flash. The camera button unfortunately is very easy to press and if you do accidentally hit it; the phone takes 10 seconds to start the camera software. It takes just as long to close the application and suddenly you waste 20 seconds, which may not seem long but if you do it a few times it can be frustrating. You can reconfigure the camera button to a soft key to reduce inadvertent button presses and make this problem go away.

An important update over the Xda II mini phone is that the Atom has an onboard wireless LAN feature. Previously, you were forced to use an expansion slot and buy an additional cord. Now days almost everything is wireless and I am glad they choose to add this feature. MP3 playback works great and the speakers provide decent quality but it will diminish as you reach 100% volume level. The FM radio feature was very handy if you got tired of your MP3s. This feature will only work once you have your headphones inserted since the wires in your headphones will act as the antenna. There is not an antenna built into the phone and you will not get any reception without the headphones.

According to the specs you should expect the Atom’s 1530mAH cell to last 150 hours but normal use will kill the battery in a couple of days. The 150 hours is a max and you may see the phone last this long if you barely use it. The processing speed comes in at a 416MHz and you should use the soft reset to close applications since Windows cannot close applications for you. The best way to close applications and start from a clean slate is to press the soft reset button which will keep close all programs and keep the Atom clipping along at a fast pace.

Overall, the phone does great if you do not already own an Xda. The nice features are the FM radio and the Wi-Fi that it supports. I like to keep things clean and having fingerprints does not give me that feeling at all. I would not run out and buy this phone unless you do not have one to begin with. None of the other updates is that much of an improvement over previous versions.

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